Monday, October 14, 2019
Sophia of Hanover
Today is the anniversary of the birthday, in 1630, of Sophia of Hanover, sometimes referred to as Sophia of the Palatinate. Probably you have never heard of her. She is, however, the reason the current British royal family is what it is.
In the late 18th century, the succession to the British throne was in controversy. The direct lines were childless. The most adjacent lines were Catholic, and the political decision had been made that only a Protestant could sit on the throne. Under "An Act for the Further Limitation of the Crown and Better Securing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject ,” better known as the “Act of Settlement of 1701,” the line of succession was placed upon a cadet line of descendents of James I, they being a Protestant. The Act of Settlement declared in part that:
Therefore for a further Provision of the Succession of the Crown in the Protestant Line We Your Majesties most dutifull and Loyall Subjects the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in this present Parliament assembled do beseech Your Majesty that it may be enacted and declared and be it enacted and declared by the Kings most Excellent Majesty by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same That the most Excellent Princess Sophia Electress and Dutchess Dowager of Hannover Daughter of the most Excellent Princess Elizabeth late Queen of Bohemia Daughter of our late Sovereign Lord King James the First of happy Memory be and is hereby declared to be the next in Succession in the Protestant Line to the Imperiall Crown and Dignity of the forsaid Realms of England France and Ireland with the Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging after His Majesty and the Princess Anne of Denmark and in Default of Issue of the said Princess Anne and of His Majesty respectively.(12 and 13 Will 3 C. 2).
Sophia would die two months too soon to ever become the queen of England. Rather, the crown would be placed on the head of her son, George I, the first of the house of Hanover to sit on the English throne. It is from Sophia that the current British royal family and especially Queen Elizabeth II claim succession to that throne.